Pierre Gasly has said that his AlphaTauri feels really good “compared to this time last year” after he posted the second fastest time of testing so far.
The Faenza-based outfit have made a very promising start to Formula 1 pre-season testing, racking up 255 laps already and facing very few reliability issues.
Gasly managed 87 laps on Saturday, with a best time of 1.30.413 which he set on the softest C5 tyre, leaving AlphaTauri just over a tenth adrift of leader Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes.
Speaking after the session, Gasly praised the Honda power-unit and claimed the team were in a “good place” with one day remaining.
“It’s been another really positive day for me, with a lot of laps done this afternoon,” he said. “We managed to complete all the high-fuel running that we wanted to at the start of the session and then some performance runs towards the end, with the softer compound.
“I feel really good in the car, especially compared to this time last year, so it’s really positive for me. There are obviously places we still need to improve upon, but I think we’re in a good place with one day left of running at this test. The Honda Power Unit is working really well so far and we haven’t had any reliability issues which is great – I’m excited to get it out on track for the race.
“With only three days of testing – split between two drivers – I knew it would be difficult but considering how many laps we’ve been able to complete so far I’m feeling quite comfortable with the car ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.”
— Scuderia AlphaTauri (@AlphaTauriF1) March 13, 2021
The man who will partner Gasly in 2021, Yuki Tsunoda, was in the car for the morning session and he managed to get another 57 laps under his belt as he continues to get to grips with the AT02.
“I think for me on the driving side things are definitely improving each time I go out,” Tsunoda added.
“The weather again today has been an issue, particularly with the changes in wind direction, so it’s definitely been a big learning curve. I’m really starting to understand the car and how it reacts with different tyre compounds now – my performance isn’t perfect yet but I’m happy with how the test is going from my side.
“I’m also getting more confident in high speed corners, as I continue to understand the downforce levels of the car more with each run we do. It’s good learning for the team, and also for myself, so hopefully we can put it all together tomorrow.”